Finding Genius and The Castaways

October 14, 2020

Art Koch’s Profit Chain® Series
Volume 3 | Number 10 | October 2020

What if I were to tell you that you have an untapped resource within your organization and that it’s free to you if you know how to slow down and dive in and find it? It is how leaders discover, cultivate, and sustain the hidden genius in their organization.

The more time I spend working with team members, the more I realize the importance of leadership. Anyone can have great individual achievements. Good leaders can rally a team and get excellent results. However, exceptional leaders have honed their skills to find and nurture the Genius and The Castaways within organizations, unlocking their true potential, and mobilizing them into the team to achieve extraordinary results.

What does it take to unlock one’s greatness and find the castaways? Leaders with the ability to slow down, listen, watch, and establish an inclusive environment for team members to flourish.

All organizations employ such individuals; they may be lost, pigeonholed, or just castaways. These are the individuals who have been told to check their brains at the door upon arrival to work. They could be the person with their head down, working hard, not being heard; the wisecracking stock-car racer with multiple regional championships; the troop master who has graduated the most Eagle Scouts in the nation or someone with a disability. This person may never have had family support; perhaps they were never told that they were great at something which led them to a complete lack of self-confidence. They can be the individuals who matured later in life. Often, they are intelligent, but never had the opportunity or the right timing to blossom in their careers. Their true potential was locked away because they might have said something wrong or not been polished enough to address a critical issue.

Because these individuals don’t fit the mold with either traditional education or fit into the corporate setting, they get sidelined, and their talents and skills go untapped. Often, they find other avenues to achieve success and to challenge their minds.

Nine Warning Flares

When transforming the organization with Art Koch’s Profit Chain® The Three Fs of Supply Chain Management;

  • People and Process Foundation.
  • Structural Framework
  • Financial Focal Point.

Art Koch’s Profit Chain®

Create dramatic improvements to inventory velocity, customer service, and corporate profits.

Ask a simple question; “how do you determine if your organizational environment is conducive to building a thriving and inclusive culture?” Below are nine warning flares that indicate that the Organization is not ready to find hidden geniuses or castaways. If any of these conditions exist, then work needs to be done to move the company culture in the right direction.

How do you rate personally? Can you name at least one or two people/year throughout your career that was once thought to be damaged goods or pigeonholed that you helped by creating the environment for their greatness to shine, and now are valuable contributors to the team?

No matter the Organization, there will always be areas that need improvement. It is similar to improving your buoyancy skills while diving. I’ve outlined my Top Nine Rules of establishing behaviors to nurture Finding Genius and the Castaways.

Top Nine Rules to Finding Genius and the Castaways

  1. Leadership is a contact sport. Leaders lead by getting out of their offices, out from behind computer monitors, and physically leading the team. Establish Gemba; senior executives need to spend up 30% of their time on the frontlines; Managers up 60% of their time.

  1. Lead the HEART.
    • Hear and understand me.
    • Even if you disagree, don’t make me wrong.
    • Acknowledge the greatness within me.
    • Remember to look for my loving intentions.
    • Tell me the truth with compassion.
  2. Eliminate the words; me, my, and I. There is no “I” in Team. Create a culture of OUR, WE, and THE Team.
  3. Make sure the team knows and understands the product you make, who it’s manufactured for, and how it makes the world a better place.
  4. Be sure the team members know the “why” of key performance indicators (KPI), measures, and goals.
  5. Establish visual daily management with KPIs to drive communication, daily workflow, rapid problem resolution, and critical long-term initiatives improvement.
  6. Corporate and site performance KPI’s must be highly visible. Team members must feel they are part of the solution.
  7. Develop a culture of inclusion for all associates to build a team.
  8. Make Operational Excellence part of the culture. Have EVERYONE part of continuous improvement and Kaizen events and make on the job training for CI and lean manufacturing principles a priority.

As you start the process of building team participation and inclusion, if you remember and apply these few essential principles, the journey will be successful. You get by giving. Leadership is a contact sport. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong.

In The News: Future Events where you can follow Art.

As part of the Thought Leadership Group on Supply Chain Management, I’m a panelist during our two-part series on Reshoring in a Post COVID World. I hope you can join this timely discussion.

If you have any questions or concerns about your operations and supply chain business strategy, please contact me by e-mail or at +1 (336) 260-9441.

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